This is one of the most frustrating season finales in TV history. After a whole season in which Sud and her writers gave little (if any) indication that they didn’t know how to properly pace a story line to maintain interest over multiple episodes (to say nothing of multiple seasons), it’s infuriating to see them introduce a bunch of twists at the end of the finale – Todd VanDerWerff, LA Times
This opinion isn’t unique. But it is nothing short of amazing that people who are employed to critique television were under the assumption that the killing central to the show called The Killing would be explained in the season finale. These are the people that have to power to make or break shows. These are the kinds of people who didn’t like Inception because it was “too complicated.”
Any critic who assumed AMC would reveal the killer in the season finale needs to be fired immediately. Let me walk you through how TV works. If you explain the killing at the end of the first season of the show called The Killing, there is no killing left for the second season of The Killing to be about. Duh. This is a money-making operation, and you make money by getting people to watch.
“But that’s not what they did in the original Danish series.” And that’s why nobody watches Danish television. And that is also why, with the exception of British television, any US remake of any foreign film or TV is always better (and yes, nerds, this includes The Ring).
I knew with absolute certainty that they would not reveal the killer at the end of this season, and I am pretty confident they won’t definitively explain it all until the end of the series. For the same reason, I knew that the characters’ situation and the island on Lost would never be fully explained until the absolute end. Similarly, we didn’t really get a full understanding of the aliens and government conspiracy in the X-Files until the very end. Even Twin Peaks didn’t reveal Laura Palmer’s killer until the middle of the second season, after which the shows ratings collapsed, because, surprise! there was no reason to watch anymore.
This is how all these show’s work, do critics actually not realize this? Did people actually watch Lost week after week thinking that this week’s episode would explain it all? If a show is built around a mystery, the mystery will not be explained until as late as possible, which means the end of the series or as a desperate attempt to punch up ratings.
Genre television truly broke sometime between X-Files and Alias, shows which overlapped for a season. Somewhere in that time frame, critics and networks execs came to the brilliant conclusion that the problem with the X-Files was that it wasn’t about Mulder and Sculley’s burgeoning romance. If there was a problem with the X-Files, it was that they didn’t make The Smoking Man even more enigmatic. “But babies and kisses and relationships!” Die.
“we don’t really watch these shows for the mysteries, we watch them to see the relationships and learn about the characters, etc.” Wrong. I have relationships in real life. The people I know in real life have a deep and rich backstory and an unpredictable but riveting character arc.
What I don’t have in real life is a government conspiracy to conceal the existence of extraterrestrials. I feel that this is something my life is sorely missing. I’m also not currently investigating the puzzling murder of a local high school girl with the assistance of either a creepy backwards talking dream dwarf or an ex-tweeker narc. I’m not stranded on a weird time traveling island that may or may not be a DoD black project. Because I don’t have these things, and these things are interesting, I watch television for them.
I couldn’t care less about whether Freckles and Haircut fall in love or who the father of Blondie’s baby is. (Guess how many shows this applies to.) Days of Our Lives has been on TV for nine thousand years and I’ve never felt compelled to watch it.
I knew that I would hate Lost when in the first season, J.J. Abrams gave an interview and said the show was really about the relationships between the characters and not the island. Fast forward six years and what happens at the end? The characters basically go to heaven and live happily ever after. Thank you for not challenging my religious worldview, Walt Disney Corporation! Good luck with your next iteration of Sweet Valley High meets Robinson Crusoe.